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JustinVerlander35 03-13-2011 10:36 PM

Zambrano fits Big Z billing in Vegas

The start of the Cubs' game Sunday against the Dodgers was delayed a little. Carlos Zambrano didn't know Cashman Field was his home turf for the day.

"I thought we were the visiting team," Zambrano said. "Nobody told me. I was here, changing my T-shirt and [Carlos] Marmol came in and said, 'We're home and we're waiting for you on the field.'"

So, he ran down to the dugout and headed to the mound, even though his jersey wasn't quite tucked in right neatly.

"The good thing is, I looked good pitching," Zambrano said. "I told Greg Maddux one time, 'Why don't you dress like this age, like us? You still dress like an old timer.' He said, 'Hey, it's not the way you look, it's the way you pitch.' He's right. It doesn't matter how good you look on the mound, it's about how you perform."

Zambrano performed well on Sunday, holding the Dodgers to one run on six hits and one walk over five innings in his longest spring outing. He struck out three and contributed with a double in the fifth that set up a game-tying run."He came right at them," catcher Koyie Hill said. "He made adjustments with all his pitches when he needed to and not just one side of the game, where he's using his fastball and making adjustments off that. He made adjustments off everything. That's good. It means he's able to repeat his delivery and arm slot.

"He was able to get on top of the ball and that means the adjustments are smaller and quicker. Tempo-wise, he was under control. He was quick, but he wasn't too fast. He had good energy. It was a good outing."

And some good hitting, too, and there's a story to that. A switch-hitter, Zambrano batted from the left side in the third inning and flew out to the warning track. In the fifth, the Dodgers countered with a lefty, and Zambrano had to switch to the right side of the batter's box. After he rapped the double down the left-field line, he flipped off his batting helmet as he rounded first base.

"I didn't know there was a left-handed pitcher," Zambrano said, "and I had to hit right-handed and my other helmet was inside. I had to use an 8 1/2-inch helmet, Jeff Baker's, and it was a little too big for me. I looked like 'Sarge' running the bases."

That's Sarge as in former Cubs outfielder Gary Matthews, whose wild baserunning highlights have been replayed often on MLB Network, much to the delight of Cubs players.

Zambrano eventually scored on Starlin Castro's single, which tied the game at 1.

As far as pitching, Zambrano was pleased with his outing.

"I was able to command my pitches, and my pitches were working," he said. "My arm slot was good today. The most important thing was I was able to be ahead in the count, which is good. Any time you can be ahead in the count, it makes it easier for me."

"He pitched good, swung the bat good -- he's a piece of work," Cubs manager Mike Quade said.
Source- Carlos Zambrano fits Big Z billing in all facets in Vegas | News

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